Workers will soon be able to put together a mash-up using enterprise data with the same ease that it takes to create a web 2.0 application, IBM predicts.
Mash-ups are services that combine information from multiple sources to create a new service.
Popular examples include online maps that allow users to find listings for rental apartments and homes for sale, or even available shelters after a disaster.
"This idea of the Long Tail is applicable not just to data, but to applications," Rod Smith, research fellow and vice president of emerging internet technologies at IBM, told vnunet.com.
'The Long Tail' describes a phenomenon whereby a large number of blogs or users can create a lucrative niche market for goods or advertisers.
The term was coined by Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, and is considered one of the driving forces behind web 2.0.
In business applications, the Long Tail could allow firms to cut back on research and development spending, enabling them to switch from a mass marketing to a niche marketing model.
Firms could switch from offering a few products to millions of people, to offering millions of products that cater to small groups of customers.
A business version of a web 2.0 application could allow companies to combine weather information, for example, with their enterprise data.
IBM has built a service that combines information about ships with weather data, allowing workers at a shipping company to track the location of a vessel, its route and destination.
To the end user, web 2.0 might look like it is all about combining data streams. But it requires a large IT infrastructure component to make it work for businesses.
The data stream needs to be made available as an XML feed to allow it to be coupled to other information, and often has to be pulled from legacy applications that lack standard support for such features.
The infrastructure aspect will be delivered by service oriented architectures, another emerging technology that has mostly focused on the reuse of code within a company.
But the technology also allows software to be built from ready-made components, each of which offers a unique functionality.
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